5 Reasons Why Current Baltimore Ravens Defense Is Better Than Last Year’s
Five Reasons Why Baltimore's Defense Is Better Than Last Year
The Baltimore Ravens have gone through an unusual change that is rare for any defending Super Bowl champion. The Ravens lost eight starters on defense this past season, which more than any of the last five defending champions have gone through. It brings pause to Ravens fans when they look at the situation and see a Ray Lewis and an Ed Reed leaving, but that is the exact reason why it was the perfect time for the Ravens to re-load.
Now, you never want to see a quality player like a Reed, who has been a mainstay with the Ravens, leave to another team. You don't want to see a player in Anquan Boldin get traded after the great postseason he and Joe Flacco had. But at the same time, I always figured personally that these are the types of moves the Ravens needed to make. If there was any year to make these changes, it was this year. Winning the Super Bowl cures all. Everything that was possibly said in the locker room from a negative standpoint is no longer a concern, and everyone will just go about their business.
But as with every defending champion, players want their money, just like how Paul Kruger was offered big money to leave the Ravens. Dannell Ellerbe was also offered big money to leave the team. Those players were valued higher than what the Ravens would've liked to pay, that's why GM Ozzie Newsome always goes by the saying of, “right player, right price.”
Analysts on TV have talked for years about how old Lewis and Reed were, even though there was some exaggeration in those years. So yes, the leadership qualities will be missed as they leave, but if people are going to harp over the decline of play from those two players, they shouldn't complain when they leave.
Better depth in Pass Rush Department
With Kruger leaving, much was made about how the loss of a quality player like him will leave the Ravens without depth. But somehow, the Ravens actually upgraded in signing Elvis Dumervil. I don't think enough has been made about the steal the Ravens got in the Pro Bowl-caliber pass rusher.
Stronger Up Front At Nose Tackle
Nose Tackle Brandon Williams has already made an impact on the roster at a position that mostly needs the help due to the down season Terrence Cody had last season. Haloti Ngata is expected to take over the starting nose tackle role, which could put Cody's job on the line.
Elam Is An Upgrade Over Pollard
Matt Elam presents the athletic ability to cover in space as opposed to Bernard Pollard, who wasn't terrible in coverage, but was a liability at times. He was a very good player for the Ravens and had the physicality to intimidate receivers down the field, but Elam is a problem for opposing offenses when you combine him with Michael Huff. Both Huff and Elam can play either free safety or strong safety, so the offense won't know who is coming or going.
Faster At Linebacker
In addition to Dumervil, Arthur Brown may end up being the gem of the entire NFL inside linebacker draft class. His range and speed has compared to what Lewis brought to the table, and that can only say great things for Brown's future.
Lardarius Webb Is Back
When Lardarius Webb suffered a torn ACL in week five of last season, the loss was supposed to be the dagger in the Ravens' Super Bowl hopes. But somehow with heart and leadership, they were able to prevail. Even though Webb has yet to be voted into the Pro Bowl, there's doubt that this player is the one of the premier NFL corners when healthy.